US10183701B2 - Integrated bumper - Google Patents

Integrated bumper Download PDF

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Publication number
US10183701B2
US10183701B2 US15/924,174 US201815924174A US10183701B2 US 10183701 B2 US10183701 B2 US 10183701B2 US 201815924174 A US201815924174 A US 201815924174A US 10183701 B2 US10183701 B2 US 10183701B2
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United States
Prior art keywords
cover
robotic device
impact
user interface
plurality
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Active
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US15/924,174
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US20180265137A1 (en
Inventor
Ali Ebrahimi Afrouzi
Alex Douglas Powers
Shahin Fathi Djalali
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AI Inc
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AI Inc
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Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US201762473362P priority Critical
Application filed by AI Inc filed Critical AI Inc
Priority to US15/924,174 priority patent/US10183701B2/en
Publication of US20180265137A1 publication Critical patent/US20180265137A1/en
Application granted granted Critical
Publication of US10183701B2 publication Critical patent/US10183701B2/en
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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B62LAND VEHICLES FOR TRAVELLING OTHERWISE THAN ON RAILS
    • B62DMOTOR VEHICLES; TRAILERS
    • B62D24/00Connections between vehicle body and vehicle frame
    • B62D24/04Vehicle body mounted on resilient suspension for movement relative to the vehicle frame
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L9/00Details or accessories of suction cleaners, e.g. mechanical means for controlling the suction or for effecting pulsating action; Storing devices specially adapted to suction cleaners or parts thereof; Carrying-vehicles specially adapted for suction cleaners
    • A47L9/009Carrying-vehicles; Arrangements of trollies or wheels; Means for avoiding mechanical obstacles
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L9/00Details or accessories of suction cleaners, e.g. mechanical means for controlling the suction or for effecting pulsating action; Storing devices specially adapted to suction cleaners or parts thereof; Carrying-vehicles specially adapted for suction cleaners
    • A47L9/28Installation of the electric equipment, e.g. adaptation or attachment to the suction cleaner; Controlling suction cleaners by electric means
    • A47L9/2805Parameters or conditions being sensed
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L9/00Details or accessories of suction cleaners, e.g. mechanical means for controlling the suction or for effecting pulsating action; Storing devices specially adapted to suction cleaners or parts thereof; Carrying-vehicles specially adapted for suction cleaners
    • A47L9/28Installation of the electric equipment, e.g. adaptation or attachment to the suction cleaner; Controlling suction cleaners by electric means
    • A47L9/2857User input or output elements for control, e.g. buttons, switches or displays
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B62LAND VEHICLES FOR TRAVELLING OTHERWISE THAN ON RAILS
    • B62DMOTOR VEHICLES; TRAILERS
    • B62D27/00Connections between superstructure or understructure sub-units
    • B62D27/04Connections between superstructure or understructure sub-units resilient
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47LDOMESTIC WASHING OR CLEANING; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47L2201/00Robotic cleaning machines, i.e. with automatic control of the travelling movement or the cleaning operation
    • A47L2201/04Automatic control of the travelling movement; Automatic obstacle detection
    • GPHYSICS
    • G05CONTROLLING; REGULATING
    • G05DSYSTEMS FOR CONTROLLING OR REGULATING NON-ELECTRIC VARIABLES
    • G05D1/00Control of position, course or altitude of land, water, air, or space vehicles, e.g. automatic pilot
    • G05D1/02Control of position or course in two dimensions
    • G05D1/021Control of position or course in two dimensions specially adapted to land vehicles
    • GPHYSICS
    • G05CONTROLLING; REGULATING
    • G05DSYSTEMS FOR CONTROLLING OR REGULATING NON-ELECTRIC VARIABLES
    • G05D2201/00Application
    • G05D2201/02Control of position of land vehicles
    • G05D2201/0203Cleaning or polishing vehicle

Abstract

Integrated bumpers are presented including: a suspension assembly including, a suspension plate coupled with a robotic device chassis along a top surface of the robotic device chassis, a number of radially disposed springs positioned along a portion of a perimeter of the suspension plate and coupled with the suspension plate, and a number of cutouts positioned along the perimeter of the suspension plate; and a cover coupled with the suspension assembly, the cover including, a number of spring anchors coupled with the number of springs, which in some embodiments may be radially disposed, and a number of tabs aligned with the number of cutouts to limit movement of the suspension plate. In some embodiments, integrated bumpers further include: two impact sensors positioned along a second portion of the perimeter, the two impact sensors detecting movement between the suspension assembly and the cover.

Description

FIELD OF INVENTION

Embodiments disclosed related to integrated bumpers for robotic devices, specifically inconspicuous bumper/cover for robotic vacuum devices.

BACKGROUND

Robotic devices are becoming more common in everyday life. Initially, robotic devices emphasized function over form. It was once common to see robotic devices with exposed gears and mechanisms. In a more mature marketplace, however, form has become more important so as to attract more consumers. The idea of inconspicuous bumper is about unifying the appearance of a bumper of a robot device, such as a robotic vacuum device, to improve the aesthetic of the device. In addition, functionality may be incorporated into the design to enhance usability. In this manner, both form and function may be addressed. As such, embodiments for integrated bumpers are presented herein.

SUMMARY

The following presents a simplified summary of some embodiments of the invention in order to provide a basic understanding of the invention. This summary is not an extensive overview of the invention. It is not intended to identify key/critical elements of the invention or to delineate the scope of the invention. Its sole purpose is to present some embodiments of the invention in a simplified form as a prelude to the more detailed description that is presented below.

Integrated bumpers are presented including: a suspension assembly including, a suspension plate coupled with a robotic device chassis along a top surface of the robotic device chassis, a number of radially disposed springs positioned along a portion of a circumference of the suspension plate and coupled with the suspension plate, and a number of cutouts positioned along the circumference of the suspension plate; and a cover coupled with the suspension assembly, the cover including, a number of spring anchors coupled with the number of radially disposed springs, and a number of tabs aligned with the number of cutouts to limit movement of the suspension plate. In some embodiments, integrated bumpers further include: two impact sensors positioned along a second portion of the circumference, the two impact sensors detecting movement between the suspension assembly and the cover. In some embodiments, the two impact sensors detect one of three conditions upon impact of the robotic device with an object. In some embodiments, the three conditions include: an on1-on2 condition; an on1-off2 condition; and an off1-on2 condition. In some embodiments, the on1-on2 condition indicates a front impact, the on1-off2 condition indicates a first side impact local to a first of the two impact sensors, and the off1-on2 condition indicates a second side impact local to a second of the two impact sensors. In some embodiments, the cover at least partially encloses the robotic device chassis and fully encloses the suspension assembly. In some embodiments, the cover further includes a user interface opening disposed along a top surface of the cover. In some embodiments, the cover moves when impacted.

In some embodiments, robotic devices are presented including: a robotic device chassis; an integrated bumper including, a suspension assembly including, a suspension plate coupled with a robotic device chassis along a top surface of the robotic device chassis, a number of springs positioned along a portion of a perimeter of the suspension plate and coupled with the suspension plate, and a number of cutouts positioned along the perimeter of the suspension plate; and a cover coupled with the suspension assembly, the cover including, a number of spring anchors coupled with the number of radially disposed springs, and a number of tabs aligned with the number of cutouts to limit movement of the suspension plate. In some embodiments, the springs may be radially disposed. In some embodiments, the cover further includes a user interface opening disposed along a top surface of the cover. In some embodiments, robotic devices further include: a user interface positioned along the user interface opening; and a bridging element positioned around the user interface to close a gap between the user interface and the cover. In some embodiments, the cover moves separately from the user interface upon an impact. In some embodiments, the bridging element and cover include a unitary element such that the bridging element is raised above the top surface of the cover, and where the unitary element moves separately from the user interface upon an impact. In some embodiments, the bridging element and cover include a unitary element such that the bridging element is level with the top surface of the cover, and where the unitary element moves separately from the user interface upon an impact. In some embodiments, the bridging element and the user interface are mechanically coupled such that the bridging element is level with the user interface, and where the cover moves separately from the bridging element and the user interface upon an impact. In some embodiments, the bridging element and the user interface include a unitary element such that the bridging element is level with the user interface, and where the cover moves separately from the unitary element upon an impact.

The features and advantages described in the specification are not all inclusive and, in particular, many additional features and advantages will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art in view of the drawings, specification, and claims. Moreover, it should be noted that the language used in the specification has been principally selected for readability and instructional purposes, and may not have been selected to delineate or circumscribe the inventive subject matter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Non-limiting and non-exhaustive features of the present invention are described with reference to the following figures, wherein like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout the various figures.

FIGS. 1A-1B are illustrative orthogonal representations of an integrated bumper embodying features of the present invention;

FIGS. 2A-2B are illustrative cut away representations of an integrated bumper implemented on a robotic device embodying features of the present invention;

FIGS. 3A-3B are illustrative cross-sectional representations of an integrated bumper embodying features of the present invention; and

FIG. 4 is an illustrative orthogonal underside representation of an integrated bumper embodying features of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Embodiments of the present invention will now be described in detail with reference to a few embodiments thereof as illustrated in the accompanying drawings. In the following description, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of specific embodiments of the present invention. It will be apparent, however, to one skilled in the art, that the present invention may be practiced without some or all of these specific details. In other instances, well known process steps and/or structures have not been described in detail in order to not unnecessarily obscure the present invention.

In still other instances, specific numeric references such as “first material,” may be made. However, the specific numeric reference should not be interpreted as a literal sequential order but rather interpreted that the “first material” is different than a “second material.” Thus, the specific details set forth are merely exemplary. The specific details may be varied from and still be contemplated to be within the spirit and scope of the present disclosure. The term “coupled” is defined as meaning connected either directly to the component or indirectly to the component through another component. Further, as used herein, the terms “about,” “approximately,” or “substantially” for any numerical values or ranges indicate a suitable dimensional tolerance that allows the part or collection of components to function for its intended purpose as described herein.

FIGS. 1A-1B are illustrative orthogonal representations of an integrated bumper embodying features of the present invention. FIG. 1A presents integrated bumper 100 in a neutral or resting position. That is, before integrated bumper embodiments engage with, for example, an object or obstacle. The integrated bumper may be circular or oval in shape or may comprise other shapes suitable to the robotic device, such u-shaped, squared, or rectangular. In some embodiments, integrated bumper 100 may include user interface opening 104 disposed along a top surface of cover 102 and bridging element 106 that covers the gap between cover 102 and an installed user interface 112. In some embodiments, the bridging element may comprise a circular or oval ring. In other embodiments, the bridging element may be in the shape of a curvilinear polygon or other shapes suitable to the robotic device. Further illustrated are side ports 108 and 110 corresponding with sensors of a robotic device. Any number of side port embodiments may be positioned in any manner without limitation. Embodiments disclosed herein provide a cover that partially encloses a robotic device chassis as well as fully enclosing a suspension assembly. An example robotic device chassis will be discussed in further detail below for FIGS. 3A and 3B. In addition, suspension assemblies will be discussed in further detail below for FIG. 4.

FIG. 1B presents integrated bumper 100 in an impact position. That is, after integrated bumper embodiments engage with, for example, an object or obstacle. In comparing FIG. 1A at 120 with FIG. 1B at 122, it may be seen that the cover moves slightly when impacted. However, because the cover is suspended, user interface 112 and bridging element 106 remain in the same position in response to movement or impact. This configuration provides an inconspicuous bumper/cover that is responsive to obstacles.

FIGS. 2A-2B are illustrative cut away representations of an integrated bumper embodying features of the present invention. These cut away representations are provided for clarity in understanding embodiments disclosed herein. FIG. 2A presents an integrated bumper in a neutral or resting position. That is, before integrated bumper embodiments engage with, for example, an object or obstacle. In addition, FIG. 2B presents an integrated bumper in an impact position. That is, after integrated bumper embodiments engage with, for example, an object or obstacle. In comparing FIG. 2A at 210 with FIG. 2B at 212, it may be seen that cover 102 moves slightly when impacted. In some embodiments, the movement is less than approximately 5.0 mm. However, because cover 102 is suspended, user interface 112 and bridging element 106 remain in the same position in response to movement or impact. This configuration provides an inconspicuous bumper/cover that is responsive to obstacles.

It may be appreciated that the bumper/cover and bridging elements may be enabled in a variety of ways. For example, in one embodiment, the bridging element and the cover are a unitary element that moves separately from the user interface during movement or impact. In this embodiment, the bridging element and the cover may be mechanically bonded or may be formed together. In addition, the bridging element may be positioned either above, level with, or below the cover surface in embodiments. In another embodiment, the bridging element and the user interface are a unitary element that moves separately from the cover during movement or impact. In this embodiment, the bridging element and the user interface may be mechanically bonded or may be formed together. In addition, the bridging element may be positioned either above, level with, or below the user interface in embodiments.

FIGS. 3A-3B are illustrative cross-sectional representations of an integrated bumper implemented on a robotic device embodying features of the present invention. In embodiments, the robotic device is an autonomous or semi-autonomous robotic vacuum device. These cross-sectional representations are provided for clarity in understanding embodiments disclosed herein. FIG. 3A presents an integrated bumper implemented on a robotic device 300 in a neutral or resting position. That is, before integrated bumper embodiments engage with, for example, an object or obstacle. In addition, FIG. 3B presents an integrated bumper implemented on a robotic device in an impact position. That is, after integrated bumper embodiments engage with, for example, an object or obstacle. In comparing FIG. 3A at 302 and 304 with FIG. 3B at 312 and 314 respectively, it may be seen that cover 102 moves slightly when impacted. As such, this configuration provides an inconspicuous bumper/cover that is responsive to obstacles.

FIG. 4 is an illustrative orthogonal underside representation of an integrated bumper embodying features of the present invention. As illustrated, embodiments include suspension assembly 402. Suspension assembly 402 includes suspension plate 412 that may be coupled with a top surface of a robotic device chassis (see FIGS. 3A and 3B (306) for example). In addition, a number of radially disposed springs 404 may be positioned along a portion of the circumference of suspension plate 412 and coupled therewith. In embodiments, springs may be substantially similar. In other embodiments, springs may differ in length and spring tension. It may be advantageous, in some embodiments to select different springs to accommodate different weight distributions of integrated bumper embodiments. The embodiment illustrated includes seven springs positioned along a portion of the circumference of suspension plate, however, any number of springs may be utilized without limitation and without departing from embodiments provided herein. Further illustrated, suspension assembly 402 may include a number of cutouts 408 positioned along a circumference of suspension plate 412.

In addition to the suspension assembly, cover 102 is illustrated that includes a number of spring anchors 406 coupled with the radially disposed springs 404 to suspend the cover and a number of tabs 410 aligned with cutouts 408 to limit movement of the cover. In this configuration, the cover may move separately from the user interface 112 in response to an impact. In embodiments, spring anchors are utilized to mechanically couple a spring or other expandable element such as, for example, a rubber strip or band with the cover. Any type of spring anchor known in the art may be utilized without limitation and without departing from embodiments disclosed herein. Further, in embodiments, tabs and cutouts cooperatively function to retain the cover and to limit movement of the cover with respect to the robotic device chassis. The size and shape of both the tabs and cutouts may be selected to limit movement to a desired specification without limitation and without departing from embodiments disclosed herein. In addition, tabs may be manufactured with a rigid material to provide a hard stop or may be manufactured from a flexible or semi-rigid material for a softer stop. In order to determine where the impact occurs, two impact sensors 420 and 422 may be positioned along a second portion of the circumference of the suspension plate that does not include springs 404. These impact sensors detect movement between the suspension assembly and the cover and may provide at least some indication of the direction from which the impact with an object or obstacle occurs. The following table is provided to illustrate the sensor conditions and relative direction of impact:

TABLE 1 Condition Condition Condition Sensor 1 on1 on1 off1 Sensor 2 on2 off2 on2 Direction Front Impact Impact local to sensor 1 Impact local to sensor 2

It may be noted that the location of the impact sensors may be optimally placed forward in the prevailing direction of travel of the robotic device but may also be placed in other locations. In some embodiments, additional impact sensors may be likewise utilized to provide more refined impact direction information.

The terms “certain embodiments”, “an embodiment”, “embodiment”, “embodiments”, “the embodiment”, “the embodiments”, “one or more embodiments”, “some embodiments”, and “one embodiment” mean one or more (but not all) embodiments unless expressly specified otherwise. The terms “including”, “comprising”, “having” and variations thereof mean “including but not limited to”, unless expressly specified otherwise. The enumerated listing of items does not imply that any or all of the items are mutually exclusive, unless expressly specified otherwise. The terms “a”, “an” and “the” mean “one or more”, unless expressly specified otherwise.

While this invention has been described in terms of several embodiments, there are alterations, permutations, and equivalents, which fall within the scope of this invention. It should also be noted that there are many alternative ways of implementing the methods and apparatuses of the present invention. Furthermore, unless explicitly stated, any method embodiments described herein are not constrained to a particular order or sequence. Further, the Abstract is provided herein for convenience and should not be employed to construe or limit the overall invention, which is expressed in the claims. It is therefore intended that the following appended claims be interpreted as including all such alterations, permutations, and equivalents as fall within the true spirit and scope of the present invention.

Claims (23)

What is claimed is:
1. An integrated bumper comprising:
a suspension assembly comprising,
a suspension plate coupled with a robotic device chassis along a top surface of the robotic device chassis,
a plurality of radially disposed springs positioned along a portion of a circumference of the suspension plate and coupled with the suspension plate, and
a plurality of cutouts positioned along the circumference of the suspension plate; and
a cover coupled with the suspension assembly, the cover comprising,
a plurality of spring anchors coupled with the plurality of radially disposed springs, and
a plurality of tabs aligned with the plurality of cutouts to limit movement of the suspension plate.
2. The integrated bumper of claim 1, further comprising:
two impact sensors positioned along a second portion of the circumference, the two impact sensors detecting movement between the suspension assembly and the cover.
3. The integrated bumper of claim 2, wherein the two impact sensors detect one of three conditions upon impact of the robotic device with an object.
4. The integrated bumper system of claim 3, wherein the three conditions comprise:
an on1-on2 condition;
an on1-off2 condition; and
an off1-on2 condition.
5. The integrated bumper of claim 4, wherein
the on1-on2 condition indicates a front impact, wherein
the on1-off2 condition indicates a first side impact local to a first of the two impact sensors, and wherein
the off1-on2 condition indicates a second side impact local to a second of the two impact sensors.
6. The integrated bumper of claim 1, wherein the cover at least partially encloses the robotic device chassis and fully encloses the suspension assembly.
7. The integrated bumper of claim 1, wherein the cover further comprises a user interface opening disposed along a top surface of the cover.
8. The integrated bumper of claim 1, wherein the cover further comprises a plurality of side ports corresponding with a plurality of sensors.
9. The integrated bumper of claim 1, wherein each of the plurality of radially disposed springs each comprise a spring tension.
10. The integrated bumper of claim 1, wherein the cover moves when impacted.
11. A robotic device comprising:
a robotic device chassis;
an integrated bumper comprising,
a suspension assembly comprising,
a suspension plate coupled with a robotic device chassis along a top surface of the robotic device chassis,
a plurality of radially disposed springs positioned along a portion of a circumference of the suspension plate and coupled with the suspension plate, and
a plurality of cutouts positioned along the circumference of the suspension plate; and
a cover coupled with the suspension assembly, the cover comprising,
a plurality of spring anchors coupled with the plurality of radially disposed springs, and
a plurality of tabs aligned with the plurality of cutouts to limit movement of the suspension plate.
12. The robotic device of claim 11, wherein the cover further comprises a user interface opening disposed along a top surface of the cover.
13. The robotic device of claim 11, further comprising:
a user interface positioned along the user interface opening; and
a bridging element positioned around the user interface to close a gap between the user interface and the cover.
14. The robotic device of claim 13, wherein the cover moves separately from the user interface upon an impact.
15. The robotic device of claim 13, wherein the bridging element and cover are a unitary element such that the bridging element is raised above the top surface of the cover, and wherein the unitary element moves separately from the user interface upon an impact.
16. The robotic device of claim 13, wherein the bridging element and cover are a unitary element such that the bridging element is level with the top surface of the cover, and wherein the unitary element moves separately from the user interface upon an impact.
17. The robotic device of claim 13, wherein the bridging element and the user interface are mechanically coupled such that the bridging element is level with the user interface, and wherein the cover moves separately from the bridging element and the user interface upon an impact.
18. The robotic device of claim 13, wherein the bridging element and the user interface are a unitary element such that the bridging element is level with the user interface, and wherein the cover moves separately from the unitary element upon an impact.
19. The robotic device of claim 11, further comprising:
two impact sensors positioned along a second portion of the circumference, the two impact sensors detecting movement between the suspension assembly and the cover.
20. The robotic device of claim 19, wherein the two impact sensors detect one of three conditions upon impact of the robotic device with an object, wherein the three conditions comprise:
an on1-on2 condition;
an on1-off2 condition; and
an off1-on2 condition.
21. The robotic device of claim 20, wherein
the on1-on2 condition indicates a front impact, wherein
the on1-off2 condition indicates a first side impact local to a first of the two impact sensors, and wherein
the off1-on2 condition indicates a second side impact local to a second of the two impact sensors.
22. The robotic device of claim 11, wherein the cover at least partially encloses the robotic device chassis and fully encloses the suspension assembly.
23. The robotic device of claim 11, wherein the cover further comprises a plurality of side ports corresponding with a plurality of sensors.
US15/924,174 2017-03-18 2018-03-16 Integrated bumper Active US10183701B2 (en)

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Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US201762473362P true 2017-03-18 2017-03-18
US15/924,174 US10183701B2 (en) 2017-03-18 2018-03-16 Integrated bumper

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US15/924,174 US10183701B2 (en) 2017-03-18 2018-03-16 Integrated bumper
PCT/IB2018/000359 WO2018172846A2 (en) 2017-03-18 2018-03-17 Integrated bumper

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US10183701B2 true US10183701B2 (en) 2019-01-22

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US6748297B2 (en) 2002-10-31 2004-06-08 Samsung Gwangju Electronics Co., Ltd. Robot cleaner system having external charging apparatus and method for docking with the charging apparatus
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US7031805B2 (en) 2003-02-06 2006-04-18 Samsung Gwangju Electronics Co., Ltd. Robot cleaner system having external recharging apparatus and method for docking robot cleaner with external recharging apparatus
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US9725013B2 (en) * 2008-04-24 2017-08-08 Irobot Corporation Robotic floor cleaning apparatus with shell connected to the cleaning assembly and suspended over the drive system
US20130341966A1 (en) * 2011-06-21 2013-12-26 Cnh America Llc Cab suspension system for an off-road vehicle
US20140246874A1 (en) * 2012-03-15 2014-09-04 Irobot Corporation Compliant Solid-State Bumper for Robot
US9487249B2 (en) * 2012-12-20 2016-11-08 Cnh Industrial America Llc Cab suspension system for a work vehicle with circumferentially extending bump stops
US20180000306A1 (en) * 2015-01-31 2018-01-04 Mini-Mole Llc Automatic Floor Cleaning Robot

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Title
International application No. PCT/IB2018/000359 ISR and WO.

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WO2018172846A2 (en) 2018-09-27
US20180265137A1 (en) 2018-09-20

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